Viviers, a walled town located just north of Avignon on the Rhône River, is a frequent stop for cruises sailing on the Rhône and Saône Rivers. It's been a bishop’s seat since Roman times and boasts one of the smallest cathedrals in France. Its winding streets have a medieval feel, and its tiled-roofed houses with pastel facades make the town picturesque without being precious.
What We Love
Pedestrian-Friendly: Viviers is perfect for touring on foot since the distances between sites are manageable and the layout easy to navigate.
Hilltop Views: Enter the town through the walls and follow the narrow lanes to the top. At the summit, there's a gorgeous view of the Rhone, and to the north, an arched Roman bridge that spans gorgeously across the river.
Best Known For
Cathedral of St. Vincent: Built in the 12th century and reconstructed in the 18th century, this imposing edifice sports a bell tower and houses a splendid set of tapestries made by the Gobelins manufacturers in Paris.
House of Chevaliers: This 16th-century mansion was once the residence of a wealthy merchant and is lavishly decorated with friezes, coats of arms, and ornate columns. Book ahead for a guided visit.
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Who It's Best For
Independent Explorers: Visitors who like exploring on their own will enjoy poking around this charming, low-key town, where you’ll find lots of unexpected discoveries as you ascend to the top.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's a Walking City: You'll be climbing steep streets and treading over uneven surfaces. Some people may find the walking and trekking to be too much. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes with good traction.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.